On March 23, in China, a passenger on a bus traveling from Yunnan to Shandong felt unwell – they called for an ambulance. Three hours after hospitalization, the man died. It turned out that the cause of his death was the hantavirus.
After the incident, the media began to call this infection “new” and even compare it with coronavirus. Moreover, according to the international medical directory MSD, hantavirus has been known to science for several decades and has long been studied.
According to the MSD, hantavirus infection causes symptoms similar to a common cold: fever, muscle pain, and nausea. Sometimes fixed breathing difficulties. Typically, symptoms appear within two to four weeks after infection. In this case, unlike a simple SARS, with hantavirus, a runny nose and sore throat are extremely rare.
As reported in the medical guide, the virus has two main manifestations – pulmonary syndrome and hemorrhagic fever.
With pulmonary syndrome, which is most common in the United States, South America and Panama, in addition to the above symptoms, hypotension and pulmonary edema can be observed.
Hantavirus also in some cases contributes to the rapid filling of the lungs with fluid, which can lead to death – according to the MSD handbook, mortality in such cases reaches 50%.
However, more often than not, a pulmonary disease goes away without complications and the patient fully recovers within two to three weeks from the onset of symptoms.
In turn, the hemorrhagic fever caused by hantavirus begins most often suddenly – with fever, headache, and back and stomach pains. Nevertheless, according to the MSD handbooks, with the mildest forms, it can even go asymptomatically.
Patient recovery usually takes three to six weeks, however, in severe cases, it can take up to six months. Fatal outcomes occur in 6-15% of cases of infection and, as a rule, are found in people with the most severe forms of the course of the disease.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hantavirus is most often transmitted through the respiratory tract, eyes or mouth after contact with animals (in particular, rodents), and also after their bites.
Transmission of infection from person to person is extremely rare, therefore, becoming infected with hantavirus in everyday life will be difficult.
The main precaution may be the exclusion of contact with wild and homeless animals.
Although hantavirus can be fatal, it is still not very common in the world.
“The hantavirus does not cause such large epidemics, as the COVID-19 coronavirus has now caused. This is a dangerous infection, but it does not follow such results, ”said Anatoly Alstein, a virologist, academician of the REAN, URA.RU.
According to the Independent portal, world medicine is now much better equipped to deal with hantavirus than with COVID-19.
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